Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday Night Game

So I finally made it to a Tuesday night session; I missed the last one, my internal calendar being all messed up from working at home. It was ugly. We’re playing Rifts, and our party, which was based in Missouri, somehow got dumped in the Pampas (or, more likely, Patagonia!) of South America by aliens (it seems we pissed off some Naruni by “appropriating” some “abandoned” merchandise of theirs, but that’s neither here nor there). We’re smack-dab in the middle of C.J. Carella Mega-Damage-Inflation Hell, and running out of e-clips with nary a steam engine, let alone a micro-fusion recharger, in sight. My character is saving his last charge for himself, as the nasty D-Bees we’ve been encountering are “slave taking” types…

This session also marks the beginning of my own campaign, which will run on alternating Tuesdays with the Rifts game. I’d originally planned to run a Wilderlands-based Castles & Crusades campaign, but then thought better of it… after all, I work with the Wilderlands and Castles & Crusades every day! I don’t want my campaign to seem like work! So I decided to go with something else. I decided that I still wanted a fantasy game, so if it wasn’t going to be Castles & Crusades, it meant it had to be Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition with this group (they like Rifts, Palladium Fantasy not so much).

I generally dislike running Dungeons & Dragons v3.5, finding it overly complex, which is why I went to Castles & Crusades in the first place. However, I’ve found that if I limit player options to the Player’s Handbook and the prestige classes in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I can keep a handle on things and avert massive complexity and munchkinism. So Dungeons & Dragons it would be… but where? I had run a short-lived campaign in the excellent Known Realms from Goodman Games earlier in the year, but I wanted something… different. I wanted something that had remained unexplored by the group. We’d campaigned in Mystara using HackMaster (the Malpheggi Swamp campaign) and Castles & Crusades (the Minions of Evil campaign). Most of the group is in Living Greyhawk, so that was out (LG has made independent Greyhawk campaigns with non-canon elements nearly impossible to run). Similarly, several had recently run in Ptolus. I didn’t want to run in the Forgotten Realms; a very bad ending to the last campaign I ran there has probably spoiled it for me for life. I considered Birthright but felt it was too complex, felt Dragonlance to be too epic, Ravenloft too depressing, and I’ve never been big on Dark Sun. I considered Castle Zagyg or Aihrde, but those hit too close to the “things I’ve been working with” constraints.

And then, while perusing the shelves of the Big Wall o’ Games, my eyes alighted on Epic of Aerth, the campaign setting for Gary Gygax’s Dangerous Journeys: Mythus role-playing game. I loved Mythus. Yes, it was quite complex, but I loved the way that the system let you design your character; it was the very crunchy forerunner to the also very excellent Gary Gygax’s Lejendary Adventure (with Aerth a parallel world of Learth, both being parallels of Earth and Oerth). I’d run a very satisfying Mythus campaign set in Aerth, oh, it’s been a good eight years ago now. I’ve always wanted to use Aerth again, and figured this might be a chance. So I pulled Epic of Aerth off the shelf and pulled out my old notes on the Epic of Albion campaign. (As a note, I'd considered using Lejendary Earth, too, but my recent flaking out on and abandoning Jewels of the East still cuts too close).

In short the Epic of Albion takes place in 4190 AA (Age of Atlantis), dealing with an alternate England divided into many small states, the result of the less-than-successful invasion of William the Bastard in 4066. Then, he failed to gain victory over either Harald Hardraade or Harold Ingwarson, and the old Kingdom of Angle Land had been split between the three. The Anarchy of 4135 to 4154 further divided the realm into seven states. And so things stood when King Richard inherits the throne of Norman Albion, the question on everyone’s mind being whether Richard would seek to unite Angle Land under his banner or take up the Solar Disk (of Apollo, Supreme God of the Roman Church) and go on Crusade in Outremer…

It was at this point of going over the notes that I recalled an idea I’d had some time ago of running a campaign in Outremer. And so I dug out my copy of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition Historical Reference Campaign Sourcebook: The Crusades. A quick brush-up on the setting and I had found the campaign I was going to run — Outremer 4130, in which the characters adventure in the Aerth version of Outremer, under the rule of the Roman Crusaders...

More on this as it develops...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Not much going on right now...

I'm still working on the first issue of Adventure Games Journal and the first campaign installment, the Player's Guide to the Southern Reaches. They'll be done... when they are done. Soon, soon...

Should have a neat preview up on the website shortly. Previews are now all on the website, as for some reason not everyone can see this blog... weird. So check the website regularly for updates.

I'll be playing Rifts next Tuesday, and after that session we'll be setting up for (ideally) a Castles & Crusades campaign that I will run every other Tuesday. We'll see how that goes...